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Health and Wellbeing

Possible health problems

On the whole Guinea pigs are generally healthy pets, although you do need to monitor their health and handle them regularly. Problems that are diagnosed early and treated have a better prognosis. It is also a good idea to weigh your guinea pigs regularly as weight loose is a sign there could be a health problem.

When checking your pigs make sure, . .

  • That their coat is laying flat and is not greasy, there are no bald patches, scabs or dandruff. If long haired make sure there are no tangles by grooming regularly.
  • Eyes should be clear and bright with no discharge.
  • Ears may have a small amount of wax inside but the ear flaps should be smooth and not scruffy.
  • Nose should be clean and have no sign of any discharge from the nostrils.
  • Mouth should be clear of any scabbing and the teeth should be white with the bottom teeth slightly longer that the top.
  • Feet are very delicate in guinea pigs and nails should be checked and trimmed if needed.

The most common health problems that I have encountered with guinea pigs are abscesses, mites and eye infections.

Mites

This is what a severe case of mites looks like!

Mites are easily avoided, they can be picked up by pigs from bedding and hay. If your pig has any crusting or bald patches it is most likely to be mite. I find the best product is xeno 450 which you can buy from your vet, it is a spot on treatment that you put on their skin on the back of the neck. I treat all my pigs on a regular basis as a preventative measure. The pig above was found as a stray, and was on pain killers and anti-biotics for secondary infection prescribed by my vet.

Infections, usually form from a foreign body in the eye. Gently bathing the eye with warm water may remove it but its usually best to get your vet to check the eye as the pig may also need anti-biotic drops.

The most common eye problems I have seen in pigs are:

Fatty Eye

Fatty eye is fairly common and is not serious. The muscle in the bottom eye lid bulges outwards and it is not known what causes this but it isn't painful and there is no treatment.

Cataracts

Cataracts tend to affect older pigs and abysinnian pigs are more prone. They don't make the guinea pig blind but they do reduce vision. Both eyes are normally affected. I have had a few pigs with cataracts and they have lived normal lives.